Benefits of reading aloud and bringing stories to life for little ones:
Reading stories aloud with small people is so very important. It promotes face to face communication, brain and language development and bonding and attachment.
Sharing stories help little ones develop their vocabulary, confidence, thinking and learning skills all of which they will use later to learn to read.
Speech and language skills are important in children's lives and one of the best predictors of educational achievement and life chances. There has been much research into the links between speaking (oral language) and reading. The amount of time spent reading aloud is related to faster developing language skills and toddlers who are read to or shown picture books daily are less likely to have language delays. Children who are read aloud to regularly, often learn to read faster in school and enter school with larger vocabularies (words known and used by a child). Researchers have found that vocabulary at age 5 are linked to later academic skills in school.
The simple act of cuddling up for story time can have a huge impact on later development. It can be hard to know where to start and what kinds of books are best.
Here’s my quick guide for the under 5s:
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Cuddle up and make sure your little one can see your face as you read together. Use a conversational style that lets your little one join in the “story chats”. Take turns, wait for your little one to respond, copy what they do, and most importantly do the actions, noises and voices!
For young children sometimes simply enjoying this time and talking about the pictures is enough. Take your time and let your little one choose the book. Add play and sensory props to story time to extend the story into play. In this way stories can be acted out, sung, felt, smelt, tasted, seen and heard. Sensory play helps support shared attention, awareness of others, language development, social interaction and fun. Having puppets and props to bring your story to life also helps maintain attention, support listening skills, promote turn-taking, develop language, improve memory and problem solving skills. And if you set it up, most little ones will do a lot of this by themselves!
Also just so you know: Research has proven that repeating the same books over and over is really important for brain development. Start Dear Zoo for the eleventy billionth time, it’s really worth it!
"We do not age out of being read aloud to. If we did the audiobook industry would not be thriving". Donalyn Miller
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